It’s getting a whole lot more serious as we approach the final episodes of Wentworth. So, sit down and buckle up because it gets kind of intense.
If we were in any doubt that The Freak was in total control of the prison, ‘Mere Anarchy’ well and truly puts that to rest.
All is happening according to her plan and she’s been thinking long term, not one or two weeks into the future.
Initially, this is all about Will Jackson’s determined effort to reveal Jake Stewart as the corrupt officer, who is shipping drugs into the prison.
But even then, a passing comment from Joan to Will lets us know that she might be manipulating that situation as well.
“Why are you still here? You’re fighting a losing battle."
The meaning behind those words is lost on Will, but there’s no doubt she has her hands on the controls in more than one-way.
So, Will has brought in the big guns. The prison’s Regional Manager, Derek Channing (Martin Sacks) has come in to investigate the allegations levelled against Officer Stewart.
And while Vera and Jake’s relationship isn’t exactly against the rules, Channing makes it clear that it calls into question Vera’s judgement.
It’s a line that Channing takes with Jake as well as he begins the investigation. A cocked eyebrow shows he’s not buying Jake’s claim that ‘professional jealousy’ is driving Will Jackson’s crusade.
It worked on Vera, but perhaps a questionable figure like Channing isn’t so easily hoodwinked. We know he’s not as pure as the driven snow, perhaps he can see right through Jakey-boy.
“So that’s your explanation. Professional jealousy”.
“Not so professional. He’s really got it in for me. He shoved me up a wall yesterday”.
“You reported that”?
“No. I’m not the vindictive type”
“That’s right. You’re a lover.. not a fighter, huh”?
It’s not particularly subtle, but its clear Channing has Jake’s measure. Unfortunately, the blinkers have yet to be removed from Vera’s eyes.
She’s still buying what Jake is selling and The Freak was correct in her prediction that by giving Vera just a little bit of attention, she’ll be his forever.
Will Jackson approaches her to explain why he had to go over her head and lay his corruption allegations at Channing’s feet.
“You’re a good governor, Vera. But Stewart will bring you down if you don’t wake up to him”.
“I’m wide awake, thank you very much. I see your disgruntlement has got the better of you”.
‘It’s got nothing to do with it”.
“Really? Because you seem hell bent on destroying two very fine careers. Mr Stewart’s and your own for no reason”.
Can someone tap her on the shoulder and warn her that it’s not just Jake and Will who could be in the firing line. The Freak is pulling strings that Vera isn’t even aware of.
So, Channing is sniffing around and eventually pulls a few unexpected punches. He’s slippery and we start to see just how bent he is.
The domino pieces fall quite quickly. He tells Jake there is a corrupt officer within the walls of Wentworth. The hygiene services worker has ‘rolled’ and reveals there was to be a drug delivery until they got a tip off.
And it came from the phone that’s now ringing in Jake’s locker. Will he hand Jake over to police? Is this finally it for Jake? Um, no.
“Are you going to have me arrested”.
“Na. I’m going to make you an offer. One you’d be stupid to refuse. You can continue in your business uninterrupted, but I want a 20 per cent cut of the profits”.
Ooops, now Jake’s got two masters to answer to: Joan and Channing. How very cosy and just a little bit uncomfortable this could get.
Things don’t get any better for Jake. Vera’s home alone when she gets a visit from The Turk: Jake’s drug supplier who is furious that Jake’s hit the pause button on their operation.
With his hands around Vera’s throat, he tells her to pass on a message to her boyfriend.
“Me and Jakey have a f**king deal. Tell him I want the f**king money. You tell him The Turk said to pay up or he’s a f**king dead man”.
Now, most people would put two and two together fairly quickly and realise Jake Stewart has a very dark and dodgy side and Vera almost gets there.
But yet again she’s willing to swallow whatever crap he feeds her. The Turk isn’t a drug dealer. He’s a loan shark, who’s after the money he loaned Jake for his microbrewery.
“I don’t know if I believe you”.
“I can’t tell you what to believe. I can only tell you the truth. And it is the truth”.
And poor old Vera swallows it hook, line and sinker.
Vera is almost too pre-occupied to offer any support for Lizzie Birdsworth, who may have uncovered what happened to Detective Kaplan.
Even though she’s a recovering alcoholic, Liz shares a few sneaky drinks with Sonia Stevens, who seemingly confesses to murdering him.
She gives all the gory details: she drugged him, bludgeoned him, rolled him up in a tarp and dumped his body in a Gippsland lake.
But did she? The writers kept his fate fairly ambiguous back in episode 2. Is Sonia just toying with Lizzie like a cat with a mouse? She seems to enjoy the torment.
Liz spills her guts to Vera, begging for the police to be called in. She’ll give a statement about what Sonia ‘confessed’ to. But as the Governor points out, that didn’t work out too well last time.
Meantime, Franky has her suspicions about the new inmate, Iman and she’s not convinced that Iman didn’t know Mike Pennisi. The online messages can be easily explained away, despite the screaming ‘coincidence’.
She’s found a number for Iman’s counsellor and eventually convinces Bridget to do some asking around and what she discovers changes everything.
It turns out Iman most certainly knew Mike. They shared the same trauma counselling sessions for months and it leads to a confrontation in Iman’s cell, where Franky has found her stolen kite necklace. Iman lunges at her with a shiv as she reveals the extent of her relationship with Mike.
“You took him away from me. The only good thing I had”.
“You were his girlfriend”?
“He was obsessed with you. He had a shrine to you all over the wall. You destroyed us. He’s dead because of you”.
“I didn’t kill Mike”.
“No, I did. It’s the only reason I’m here”.
Just when it looks bad for Franky Doyle, it’s the Freak to the rescue and she drags Iman off her. But don’t get too excited. This is Joan Ferguson after all.
“It was her. She killed Pennisi”.
“So, I heard. She can tell them it wasn’t you. But she won’t be telling them anything”.
And the Freak calmly breaks her neck and breaks Franky’s hopes of freedom.
The murder has some major repercussions. Franky is charged with another murder. The police don’t believe her when she points the finger of blame at Joan Fergusson.
The murder also leads to a change in the power structure at Wentworth correctional facility.
Vera Bennett is being stood aside by Derek Channing, who installs himself as acting Governor. He’s already informed Will Jackson that there’s no evidence to support his allegations against Jake Stewart.
He’s offered a fast tracked transfer to another prison but instead he threatens to quit until Kaz Proctor talks him off the ledge.
“I need you. Will, look at me. I need to know that there’s at least one good guy on our side.”
It’s fitting that the final scene of episode ten belongs to Joan Fergusson and her underling, Jake. He queries why she would kill Iman. What could she possibly gain, apart from Vera being toppled?
Her response is chilling and perhaps indicates the final two episodes of the season will be nail biting.
“Everything is moving according to plan. All that remains is for me to deliver the Coup de Grace”.